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Tens of thousands without water in West Bank

17 June 2016 14:26

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Tens of thousands of Palestinians are without safe drinking water amid scorching heat and the fasting month of Ramadan after Israel cut water supplies to key areas in the West Bank.

The Palestinians facing water cuts include more than 40,000 — among them 16,000 refugees — in the city of Jenin where water supplies have been cut in half, the British daily The Independent reported.

The other affected places have been listed as several villages in the Nablus area, and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages.

The Israeli move comes as summer heat waves have shot the mercury up to 35 degrees Celsius at some places across the occupied territories.

A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Independent that there was “no truth” to such reports, saying the shortages were because of faulty water pipes.

In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. Ever since the occupation, Tel Aviv has been enforcing restrictions on the amount of water supplied to the West Bank and Gaza.

London-based rights body Amnesty International described the reports of water supply suspension as “alarming.”

“Israel already allows Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources in the occupied West Bank,” Amnesty research Saleh Hijazi said.

He said illegal Israeli settlements were getting “almost unlimited water supplies which enable settlers to maintain lush gardens and even fill up numerous private swimming pools.”

According to Amnesty, almost 200,000 Palestinians in the West Bank do not have access to running water, and require permission before collecting it themselves.

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